Coronavirus and fraud in the UK: from the responsibilities of the civil society to the deresponsibilisation of the state

Lorenzo Pasculli

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A fraud upsurge has hit pandemic-stricken Britain. The sudden move of our lives online paved the way to new opportunities for fraud. The personal and economic harms are enormous. The UK is responding with a two-fold approach mirroring the overall response to economic crime and a more general trend in crime control. On the one hand, the Government still relies on traditional law enforcement. On the other hand, it seeks to encourage individuals, businesses and public agencies to take responsibility in controlling and preventing crime by changing their practices – a strategy known as ‘responsibilisation’. Examples of this are information campaigns, compliance models, due diligence and risk assessment and management. With the many limitations placed by the pandemic on law enforcement, including the closure of many courts and reduced police and prosecution capabilities, much emphasis has been placed on these strategies. But do they work? This paper assesses the UK response to Covid19-related fraud risks in light of the literature on responsibilisation through a comparative review of different policies and practices by various government agencies. Our analysis will reveal how responsibilisation strategies, focused as they are on the micro-management of thousands situational risks, fail to address the deeper personal and societal conditions that can motivate or facilitate crime and eventually result in the deresponsibilisation of the state for social welfare.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-21
Number of pages18
JournalCoventry Law Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2020

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  • Coronavirus
  • Covid-19
  • Fraud
  • Financial crime
  • Crime prevention


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